Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The NHL is back...and so is Bertuzzi.

Todd Bertuzzi, the Vancouver Canucks forward suspended in March 2004 for a brutal assault on Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche, was reinstated Monday by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Bertuzzi ended up missing the last thirteen games of the 2003-2004 regular season and the Canucks' seven-game playoff loss. He lost US$500,000 in salary and was not able to play internationally during the NHL work stoppage that wiped out the 2004-2005 season. The Canucks were fined US$250,000. Bertuzzi was convicted of criminal assault and sentenced to one year of probation and 80 hours of community service.

Moore, sucker-punched from behind and driven into the ice, may never play hockey again.

The NHL has since instituted a new instigation rule: instigating a fight in the last five minutes of a game (when the majority of fights take place) now draws a game misconduct (ejection) and automatic one-game suspension. This is what John Buccigross calls "the Todd-Bertuzzi-we-don't-want-to-be-on-CNN-anymore rule."

Well, Todd Bertuzzi is back on the ice. It's only a matter of time before the NHL is back on CNN.

On the plus side, at least they'll be on TV.

I'm scratching my head trying to find the justice here. Moore sustained serious injuries and may have lost his career. Bertuzzi lost $500,000. Maybe a million dollars by the time you figure in lost endorsements and salary he would have earned in Europe. Big deal. He's scheduled to earn $5.2 million playing for the Canucks this season.

In his ruling, Bettman wrote: "I believe that Mr. Bertuzzi is genuinely remorseful and apologetic for his actions on March 8, 2004, and the consequences that have flowed from such actions."

I agree. I have no doubt Bertuzzi regrets hurting Moore as seriously as he did. But the fact remains - he fully intended to hurt him. Doesn't matter how seriously he meant to hurt him - as though he was thinking "well, if I just break his nose, that'll be enough."

Not that he punched him in the nose. He attacked from behind.

If you punched somebody in the head, intending only to commit assault, but you broke their neck and killed them, you'd be going to jail for murder. For what you did, not for what you intended.

Todd Bertuzzi killed Steve Moore's hockey career and he's only being punished for assaulting it. That's not right.

Not exactly a flying start for "the new NHL."


Anonymous Mike Kozlowski said...

The sport needs to be on its Ps and Qs rather seriously for a few months until the fan base comes back. Stuff like this doesn't help.


12:02 AM  
Anonymous Grey Havoc said...

He certainly should have drawn a harsher penalty.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous RhinoKeeper said...

I remember the incident but I don't remember the net results for Steve Moore, I take it his career is over what are his physical problems now...I'd be looking to a law suit for something like this...and that from a guy that thinks ol' Billy Shakespere was correct.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Theodore said...

Moore suffered a concussion and a broken neck. He's recovering, slowly. A civil suit is pending.#

12:10 PM  

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